Thursday, April 5, 2012

My first 10K!!!

I did it! I ran my first 10K!

This race was 5K/10K/10 mile race and was held at a small, local university. They hold several races throughout the year and they are VERY well organized. The Tuesday before the race they sent out an email with information on packet pick up, directions to the campus, and some important information about the race itself. Anyone who knows me knows that when I am going to be doing something new I like to read the information over and over so that I know what to expect, so this race has already won my favor simply by providing us with information so early. They also provided a list of people who were registered and which race they were registered for. This turned out to be pretty cool because it turned out there were a few people that I knew that were going to be doing this race as well.

Packet pick up was the day before the race (or the day of, but I don't like to do that) so my older son and I went to the campus to pick it up. On our way into the building we ran into a man from church who was also doing the race, and while picking up my packet we ran into a mom from my younger son's preschool who was going to be doing the 5K (her very first race ever - YAY Kelly!!!!!)

In the packet was my race t-shirt (a really nice, long sleeved shirt), my race bib (726 - RED numbers on a white bib to signify the 10K - the 5K was black on white and the 10 mile was black on yellow) and my timing chip:

The forecast called for temperatures in the low 50's and rain so I was having a lot of trouble trying to decide what to wear.  I knew that I wanted to wear my knee-length capris so that was taken care of - but which shirt?  I went back and forth between short sleeved/long sleeved/short sleeved with long sleeved over it...  Finally I settled on a short sleeved shirt with a hoodie, which would be nice to have in case it rained.

Saturday morning arrived overcast but dry.  I wound up getting up a bit later than I intended so I spent the time at home hurrying around trying to get dressed, eat breakfast, have my coffee (we will NOT skip the coffee!!!) and getting my things together to go.  Since I knew that I would be running for more than an hour I packed some Honey Stinger Chews and some GU Gels.  I also brought a bottle of water to wear on my belt.  I knew there would be water stations on the course but I had this nagging cough that was hanging on from a chest cold that I had 2 weeks before and water helps turn off the cough reflex for me when I have this type of cough so I wanted to have it available for when I needed it.

On the way to the campus I had a caffeinated GU.  I normally eat the ones without caffeine but before a race I tend to go for the caffeinated variety.  I had left the house later than I intended so I missed the first part of the course briefing in the gym.  BTW, this race gets a thumbs up for even offering a course briefing in the first place.

When it was getting close to the start of the race we walked down the street a bit to the starting line.  As I tend to have a bit slower pace, I like to line up towards the back.  Finally, it was time and we were off!

The start of the race was uphill.  It turns out I was behind several walkers so it took a minute or so for me to be able to start running.  When I got to the top of the hill I noticed someone with a camera but didn't think much of it.  It turns out he was taking picture after picture after picture after picture...  Here's one that you can see me really well in:

That smile wasn't for the camera - that's really how I look most of the time that I'm running.

The race continued through the small town. The first street that we ran down was the brick "main" street through the historic area of town. It's a really well maintained road so the bricks lay nice and hazard there. Around the time we turned off that road We made a few more turns through town and before I knew it we were at the turn-around area for the 5K.

The 5K turn around area was just before the 2 mile mark and was at the edge of town so the majority of the 10K and 10-mile race took place out in the country.  This was a really nice change of pace from what I am used to.  The only problem was that the road was higher in the middle than at the sides and this caused more stress for my feet than they are used to.  Also, the farm land in this area is hilly.  Very, very hilly.  And although I know it is a geographical impossibility I still say that it is hilly BOTH WAYS!!!

Once we passed the 2 mile mark I started chanting "2 down, 4 to go" to the beat of my steps.  I kept this up through the rest of the race.

Soon after I passed the 2 mile mark I saw some of the 10K runners returning.  How do they go so fast?????  Impressive!

I tried to take in every moment and notice as much as I could about my surroundings.  One thing I noticed was the smell of wild onions growing along side the road.  It's a very mile onion smell only sweeter.  Not an annoying smell - just really noticeable.

I had a little bit of coughing so I needed to stop and take a drink every so often.  For the most part, though, having been sick wasn't affecting me as much as I thought it would.

More and more of the 10K runners were returning.  I had several tell me "you're doing great!" and "keep going!" which was really cool.  I mean, here are people who are averaging anywhere from a 5 to a 10 minute mile and they're taking the time to encourage me - the runner plugging along at a 13:30 minute mile pace.

Soon I made it to another turn and the 3-mile marker.  "3 down, 3 to go!"

I saw a few yellow bibs mingled with the red numbered white bibs...some of the 10-mile runners were returning!

A little more than 1/2 mile after the turn, one of the returning runners told me that I just had to go over the next hill and then I'd be at the turn-around point.  Sure enough, when I reached the top of the hill I could see the volunteers and cones at the bottom!

I could have given those 2 men a big kiss simply for the turn-around spot being right where it was!

I turned around and was heading back!  I was over half way done!!!  I kept going and soon reached the 4 mile mark.  "4 down, 2 to go!"  I also realized that I really needed to pee.  There were porta-potties at the next turn but I decided not to use them.  Not my wisest decision but live and learn.  There was also a water station so I decided to go ahead and grab a cup since most of the water in my bottle was gone.

At one point I noticed that I could see THE WATER TOWER!!!  The water tower was where the finish line was located.  Now I knew that I still had a ways to go but it was really encouraging to be able to see where I was going to wind up.

I was being passed to several 10-mile racers at this point.  Once again, I was being reminded of how supportive runners are to one another.  I got more encouraging words and some pats on the back.

I reached the 5 mile point.  "5 down, 1 to go!"  I was also realizing that I actually had 1.2 miles to go but "1 to go" worked for the chant.  :-P

We were back in town.

I don't remember much about the time in town other than it was mostly uphill and I really wanted to get to the finish.

Soon I could hear cheering so I knew it couldn't be too far.

I ran up the last hill which was very steep and, at the top, there were people that had already finished the race who had stayed to cheer on those of us who were still running.

There was a volunteer standing in the road pointing to the grassy area where the finish line was.  I turned off the road and ran to the finish line!

I could hear the announcer saying "#726, Cindi P from *mytown, mystate*" which was unexpected and kind of cool.

I stopped to give my bib tag to the volunteers collecting them and accepted a bottle of water from the volunteer who was handing them out.

Kelly was at the finish line and gave me a high five. We congratulated each other on finishing our races and I immediately asked where the nearest open restroom was.  She pointed out the building it was in and I told her I'd see her in a few minutes as I ran off to take care of business that I should have taken care of on the course.

There was a line!!!!!!!  :-O

I was able to wait my turn and then returned outside.  At that point Kelly, her husband, and their friend were heading to the parking lot.  I walked with them so that we could chat more about the race.  She told me that she had enjoyed it and finished with a good time.  I said that I wasn't sure of my finish time (I didn't stop my timer until I was walking into the building) but that I thought it was under 1:30.  She said that she had looked at the clock when I started walking towards the building and that it was still under 1:30 so I had finished in under that time.  I was very happy to hear that since I thought it would take me at least 1:40.

When I got home I asked Rex to take a picture of me since I didn't realize that someone there had been taking pictures.

Now I'll talk about some of the mistakes that I made in this race.

One is that I had my shoelace too tight on my right foot and wound up getting a big blister on my arch.

Ouch!  That sucker was huge!  Rex went and bought me some moleskin that day since I had heard it would protect the blister and make walking much more comfortable..  I cut it into a ring to surround the blister and had to put a band-aid on top to keep it on but the blister was almost completely healed in 2 days!

The other mistake is that I didn't ice my foot when I got home.  I have plantar fasciitis that tends to flare up at times so I always ice my foot on my long run days which helps keep it from flaring.  I also forgot to wear my night splint (keeps my toes from pointing while I sleep) so the combination of the two meant that I did wind up with a flare up the next day.

I wrapped my foot with a compression bandage and wore my splint for the next 2 nights.  It healed up almost immediately.  Me being me though, I had to take a picture of my foot in the bandage:

This also gives me the chance to show off my green glitter toenail polish and the colorful afghan that I made for my son.  :-P  The very same son, btw, that laughs about how I "have to" take pictures of food and my feet and everything else.

That night the results were emailed and my official time was 1:24:54.3.  I am so happy with that time!  I thought for sure that having been sick and only being able to run once in the previous two weeks would really impact my time.  I was 2nd to last for the 10K distance and I'm ok with that.  In fact, I went into this race knowing that it was a real possibility that I would come in last and was fine with that as well.  I read a quote somewhere that said "Coming in last is better than Did Not Finish and Did Not Finish is better than Did Not Start."

All in all this was a great race.  In fact, it's my favorite that I've done so far.  It was so well organized and the announcer at the end and the professional photographer added such a nice touch.  I will definitely do this race again next year.

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